Join us on our travels around Europe aboard our Dutch Tjalk Francoise

  • Jill Budd

    After 6 years aboard our Narrowboat Matilda Rose in the UK, we took the plunge and shipped her across to Europe. After 2 years in Europe we knew we didn't want to return to the UK so took the plunge and purchased a 1902 20 mtr Dutch Tjalk called Francoise and are now continuing our travels of the waterways of Europe in a buxom wench

  • April 2020
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Archive for April 2nd, 2020

Life under lockdown–Part 6

Posted by contentedsouls on 02/04/2020

Thursday 2nd April

I get very few opportunities these days – for obvious reasons – to excercise my Spanish in the ‘real’ world (I use the term loosely) and when I do, I always seem to screw it up – even the most basic stuff. My most memorable cock up to date was to tell Maria that her daughter had 10 arseholes instead of being 10 years old.

This week I added to the list when I ventured down to the local, non-English speaking, shop. I couldn’t understand why the gentleman looked so shocked when all I’d asked for was the dog food – it was only on my way home that I realised that I had used the verb, ‘to eat’ instead of the noun, ‘food’. What I had actually asked him was, ‘where eat dog?’ – no wonder he’d looked worried.

Yesterday I had an opportunity to ‘meet’ some of our neighbours. Our terrace looks down onto their’s and I spotted what looked like a spare gas bottle on their roof, which we were in desperate need of. No problems getting an existing bottle swapped out for a full one; but getting an additional bottle is not possible at the moment. My mission (which I chose to accept) was to ascertain if it was surplus to requirements and try to purchase it. It was 2 days before I found an opportunity to approach them without knocking on their door. In those 2 days I mentally rehearsed the conversation and realised that I had the vocabulary to cover this, but would be unlikely to understand any return questions. My solution to that potential problem was to blast them with so much information that they would lose the will to live and not bother asking me any questions. I told them that I had seen the bottle on their roof and, if they weren’t using it, I would like to buy it and was willing to pay 10 euros for it. I probably also told them why I needed it, how old the dog was and what colour knickers my Granny used to wear on her birthday.

What I hadn’t factored in was the novelty value of a crazy new English neighbour arriving to ‘visit’ a large family that had been in self isolation for nearly 3 weeks! I successfully negotiated for the bottle and popped home to fetch money and Graham to carry it. I ostentatiously cleaned my hands, the money and the gas bottle handles, which gave the whole family ample time to gather and ‘interact’ with their novelty neighbours. The other factor that I hadn’t counted on was their basic honesty; they wanted to be sure that we knew there was no gas in it, how we could exchange it, and that there was no regulator with it. All of this, in typical local gender bias, was addressed directly to Graham! We, eventually, escaped and scuttled home with our prize. We have a spare regulator, so all we need now is to exchange it.

It is amazing how such triumphs brighten the day. Another such moment was when I found a T-towel lurking in the van.

I have discovered that the best time to walk the dog is mid-afternoon as there are very few, if any, people about – siesta still seems to be observed even though it’s not hot and (most) people aren’t working. About once a week (when both Muttley and I have reached desperation point) I push the, ‘max of 500 meters from home’ limit and stay out for about 45 minutes. This week’s jaunt took me up the other side of the Old Town to the castle – I chickened out before I reached the top though because, if I was spotted, there were no houses within 500 mts that I could have come from.

Here’s some pictures


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